Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript
Jan 04, 2018 • 09:30 am ET
Greetings, and welcome to the Monsanto First Quarter Fiscal Year 2018 Earnings and R&D Pipeline Update Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions)
As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Ms. Laura Meyer, Investor Relations Lead for Monsanto. Thank you. You may begin.
Thank you, Melissa. Happy New Year, and good morning to everyone. I'm joined this morning by Hugh Grant, Chairman and CEO; Brett Begemann, President and Chief Operating Officer; Pierre Courduroux, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Dr. Robb Fraley, our Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Also joining me from the Investor Relations team is Ben Kampelman.
Today, we will provide our annual R&D pipeline update on this call, as led by Dr. Fraley, as well as an overview of our first quarter results. This call is being webcast, and you can access the webcast, supporting slides and the replay at monsanto.com. We've provided you today with EPS and other measures on both a GAAP and ongoing business basis. Where we refer to non-GAAP financial measures, we reconcile to the nearest GAAP measure in the slides and in the press release, both of which are on our website. This call will include statements concerning future events and financial results.
Because these statements are based on assumptions and factors that involve risk and uncertainty, the company's actual performance and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. A description of the factors that may cause such a variance is included in our most recent 10-K and in today's press release.
The forward-looking statements are current only as of the date of this call, and the company disclaims any obligation to update them or the factors that may affect actual results. First, let me review our first quarter results, as shown on Slide 4. We delivered another strong performance with as reported earnings per share of $0.38 and ongoing earnings per share of $0.41 in the first quarter, well above the prior year as reported earnings per share of $0.07 and ongoing earnings per share of $0.21, driven by the expected strong start to our business in South America.
With that brief overview, let me hand it to Hugh to provide the strategic outlook.
Thanks, Laura. Happy new year, and good morning to everybody who's joining us today. Our teams have continued to remain focused on our top two priorities, namely, delivering our business goals while working towards closure on the deal to combine with Bayer. These business goals include advancing our pipeline, a pipeline that not only leads the industry, but serves the industry through our broad licensing strategy, and progress in our sustainability commitments, as noted in our report from just a few weeks ago.
Let's begin with an update of the status of the Bayer merger, as shown on Slide 5. With